Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Interview

The youthful administrative assistant approached Panos as he relaxed in the smooth, brown leather chair. She smiled and paused briefly.

"Mr. Wexley will see you now. Please follow me."

Panos rose to his feet, grabbed his ornamental briefcase and strode half a step behind the attractive woman. She opened the door to the sun-splashed corner office and retreated back to her desk.

"Panos, Jarvis Wexley. It's a pleasure to meet you." Wexley sprung up from behind his sizable oak desk, his hand extended. "Have a seat, please."

"Thank you for seeing me, Mr. Wexley."

"Call me Jarvis. Being called 'Mr. Wexley' makes me feel like I'm talking to my proctologist. Heh, heh!"

Panos forced a chuckle and sat down, unbuttoning his suit jacket.

"I've taken the liberty of reading through your résumé. Very impressive, indeed. But you do realize we've interviewed literally hundreds of people for this position, and we we're still not done."

"Oh, yes, sir," replied Panos. "Par for the course."

"So, let's get started. It says here that you got a finance degree and your first position was with Monsanto. What did you take away from that experience?"

"Well, sir, I suppose my biggest lesson was that an elected official's opinion can be modified far more easily than corn seed, but both lead to vast financial reward for the stockholder."

"I see. And then you accepted a position with Arthur Andersen. And your largest client was a company called Enron. Tell me about that."

Panos was ready for this one. "Sir, have you ever had an itch on your back that you couldn't reach? Arthur Andersen and Enron each had itches, and they discovered that if they embraced each other, their itches could be simultaneously scratched. A lot of people became very wealthy from our relationship, and I got out of there before some people made some mistakes."

"And then you came on board at Halliburton?"

"Correct. I learned that, when it comes to the government, 'no-bid' equals 'no lid'."

Panos attempted to gauge Wexley's response, but the interviewer merely stared blankly across the desk.

"From there," continued Wexley, "Goldman Sachs enlisted your services. What can you tell me about your experience there?"

"Let me put it this way." Panos stared out the window, taking in the view from the 46th floor. "When your job his hiding the proverbial razor blade in the financial caramel apple, eventually someone's tonsils are going to be slashed, so I bailed out of that situation..."

"Okay, you know what? Just stop right there. I think I've heard enough." Wexley rose again from behind his desk and approached the still-sitting Panos, whose mood had instantly darkened.

"I think we've found our man. Congratulations, Panos, and welcome to British Petroleum."

Panos stood and faced Wexley, thrusting his hand out to seal the deal.

Wexley ignored the gesture and engulfed Panos in an aggressive hug.

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